Customer Reviews: Whale Hunt in the Desert: Secrets of a Vegas Superhost
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on May 2, 2010
This is my review from the original hardback edition (Amazon didn't map them over to this paperback edition):

If you want to read about Las Vegas's highest of high rollers, "whales," and what a casino will do to keep them happy, then this book won't fail to satisfy. Along the way you'll meet Steve Cyr, a young Turk casino host. A host is the casino's employee whose job it is to look after the big players and to keep them happy and, more importantly, keep them coming back and gambling more and more.

Much of the book is built around Cyr and his style (his style can be both inspiring and annoying). Cyr is about 70% time-share/condo salesperson and 35% cruise director and 10% Kato Kaelin (yeah, he's 115%). But the book is more than Cyr and his successful effort to modernize the way casinos market to high rollers. You'll meet some of the whales themselves. You'll find out about the mini-palaces casinos have built just for them. And one subject usually kept off the record is covered: do casinos provide sex to their top players?

The book is not a superficial People Magazine of famous celebs who frequent Vegas. It's about both sides of the table, the whales and the casinos and hosts who harpoon them. The dark side of gambling is offered up as gamblers spin downward out of control, losing millions. There are plenty of details and that's what really distinguishes this book. Other books have touched on the fantasy of the high roller's life. Such as Lifestyles of a High Roller, Anderson's Burning the Tables, Rubin's Comp City and a couple specials on the Travel Channel, but nothing has offered up the depth or detail of Whale Hunt.

The only thing missing from the book is more.
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VINE VOICEon March 31, 2014
This book takes what should have been a long-form "puff" piece in a magazine and stretches it out to book length. It shows no sign of being run past an editor (who might have trimmed some of the enless repetitions of referring to lesser souls as "limp d*cks".)

The author was either working for our intrepid "superhost" (which means it should have been listed as an Autobiography with a supplemental author credit) or he so much worships the ground he walks on that there's little chance there will be anything even vaguely resembling an objective look.

There are some fascinating stories in there, and if given a slightly more neutral perspective and condensed down by at least half, it could have been a much better book.
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on February 22, 2011
I read this on my kindle and I loved it. I am obsessed with Vegas so I generally enjoy everything I read about it but with that said it was a really good story. I had a hard time putting this down and it flowed very quickly. The author gets into all the aspects you could want to know about with the life of a high roller. A lot of the stories make you realize how destructive gambling can be to those without control, aided by a greedy casino host. Steve Cyr made some great innovations in the industry and this captures his contributions to vegas very well.
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VINE VOICEon February 16, 2015
This is the story of host to the High Rollers Steve Cyr from his beginning career to how the market has developed. While the reviews seem mixed I enjoyed this book quite a lot with good history on the economics of casino profitability as well as the evolving business model.

Primarily focused on Steve Cyr, they couldn't have selected a better subject. A fantastic salesman willing to do anything to win, I was fascinated by the many techniques he used and how he modified his strategy as the business and casinos evolved.

If you are looking for the down and dirty seedy side of Vegas this isn't really it although it does touch those subjects. But if you've wondered about the luxury villas and who is in them, read no further, this is it. But this book for a fun read whether You gamble or not.
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on July 28, 2012
Whale Hunt in the Desert gives a behind the scenes look at the world of casino perks and services offered to the highest wagering elite of the gambling world. It is also a bio of Steve Cyr who was amongst the elite of the hosting profession while he was still in his 20s. Anyone who has an interest in the Las Vegas lifestyle would find this book to be of interest as would someone who just wonders what life is like for those who live 'behind the velvet rope' of wealth. If its legal, its available... if its not legal, it still might be available free of charge to high rollers who frequent Sin City.
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on August 11, 2015
if you're looking for faulkner in the desire..nope.,this isn't it..BUT if you are casual vegas visitor or really love the place and have always wondered about how this magical epcot for grown upas came to be...this book does more than give you the 'lifestyles of rich and famous' view of high get the full story arc of desert train stop for servicemen and miners to the truly astonishing spectacle it is the things that endeared this book to me is the reverence given to all actors on the vegas stage, chauffeurs, bell persons..everyone..and yes there is plenty of high roller juicy stuff but this book is more than that..i am telling you after this book i almost feel like i don't need to experience the high roller lifestyle and i know what its about now...i know i sound like a bit of shill for this work but i am simply very pleased to find book that gave me a 360 degree 24hour short work on a subject that fascinates me..las it or hate OUR american us for of the world..come visit and try to duplicate..wont happen
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on October 2, 2014
I liked the content. This book provides an inside and behind the scenes look at how casinos recruit, satisfy and ultimately monetize the highest bankrolled casino players. Some of the writing is a little over the top, for example vanity type references to Mr. Cyr. The editing is terrible. There are a number of grammatical and spelling errors in the Kindle edition. I was able to overlook these and enjoyed the book. Be warned, the proofreading quality of the Kindle edition is not consistent with other book. This is a unique insight into a secret world.
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on August 20, 2014
This is a super book about the meanest, most exciting, very competitive and very efficiently run gaming industry. Las Vages portrays itself as a paradise with its beautiful women, luxurious surroundings and the aura of instant riches but in reality it is hell for all those who fall under its spell. Las Vages displays the very best and worst of American capitalism. It amazes me how the gaming industry is run with such sophistication and efficiency. I highly recommend this book
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on August 29, 2014
First three quarters of the book hold your interest. Great Vegas stories,the way it was once. Book slows down to boring the last quarter . Looks like the author ran out of material and needed some fill to increase the size,so he came up with some off the wall information. This forgotten not a bad read.
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on July 10, 2014
Overall a great book about Steve Cyr and how he revolutionized hosting in a casino. I'm sure his hustling techniques in those early days are now industry standard.

I took off a star because I thought it dragged on in parts but overall I thought it was a great book.
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